If you are missing teeth due to trauma, gum disease, or decay, you may be evaluating your tooth replacement options. Two popular restoration procedures are dental bridges and implants. Each type of restoration has its pros and cons, so here is our guide to a dental bridge vs implant so you can determine the best option for your oral health.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically embedded in your jawbone. The implant provides the structural support for an abutment and an artificial crown. It enables you to speak, chew, and smile, just like you did with your natural tooth.
Before the surgery it’s best that you get a free consultation at your local dental clinic to discuss your options. Once the dentist determines you are eligible for implants they will schedule your procedure. During the dental implant procedure, your surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue and drill into the jawbone to place the biocompatible titanium implant. The incision is closed to allow the implant to fuse with the jawbone. This process is known as osseointegration.
Once healed, an abutment and crown are placed, which allow the gum tissue to regenerate around the artificial tooth naturally, resulting in a durable, realistic-looking prosthetic that looks and functions just like the original tooth.
At Available Dental, we use state-of-the-art cone beam scanning technology for guided dental implant surgery. This enables us to virtually plan your dental implant procedure before the surgery and create a custom surgical template to minimize blood loss and shorten the time you spend in the dental chair.
In addition to single dental implants, we also offer implant-supported overdentures that use multiple miniature posts to secure a denture plate. We also provide All-on-4 implants that use two dental implants embedded either side of your missing teeth, which support a dental bridge for improved comfort and confidence.
Pro and Cons of Dental Implants
The most significant advantage that dental implants have over dental bridges is that they are permanent. Dental implants are also more comfortable to wear as they feel and function exactly like your natural teeth due to the stability of the post. Additionally, the implant reinforces your jawbone, which prevents tissue loss and an aged appearance.
However, due to the complexity of the procedure and the cost of the materials used, dental implants can be an expensive restoration procedure, especially if you have insufficient jawbone and require an additional surgery like a bone graft. Dental implants are also a more invasive procedure than bridges, which can increase the risk of infection and complications.
However, dental implants have a success rate of 98% and can last a lifetime with a good oral hygiene regimen and regular dental cleanings and exams.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Candidates for dental implants should be in general good health, have healthy gum tissue and remaining teeth, and have enough density in their jawbone to support the implant post. A dentist that offers a free consultation will assess your mouth and determine what’s needed for your case.
Some patients may need additional surgeries if the jawbone has insufficient depth or density to support an implant. A bone graft uses bone taken from elsewhere in your body to create a framework that stimulates bone cell growth in your jaw for added stability. A sinus lift procedure elevates the sinus membrane so that a bone graft can be placed to increase the depth of bone tissue.
We offer the latest stem cell technology for bone grafting using isolated stem cells and a biocompatible matrix to reduce the risk of infection and rejection of the graft.
What are Dental Bridges?
Unlike a dental implant, dental bridges do not replace the root of the tooth. Instead, a bridge uses one or more of the healthy teeth surrounding the gap to support an artificial crown.
During the procedure, the supporting teeth are shaped to accommodate a dental crown. Impressions are then taken on your teeth and sent to an off-site lab that fabricates the bridge. The bridge is matched to the exact shade of your remaining teeth to give the most natural appearance possible. Once the dental bridge is ready, your dentist cements it in place.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
A dental bridge vs implants is a faster and more affordable tooth restoration option, while still offering a realistic appearance.
Dental bridges can strain the surrounding teeth and do not stabilise the underlying jawbone, which can cause problems with chewing and speaking in the future. Bridges also do not last as long as implants typically lasting from 5-15 years if cared for properly. Because a dental implant is longer-lasting, this makes it a more cost-effective tooth replacement option over the long-term.
Dental bridges can also be challenging to clean, whereas a dental implant is brushed and flossed just like a natural tooth.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Bridges?
To be eligible for dental bridges, patients must have healthy teeth and be free from periodontal disease. Patients must also have strong, healthy teeth adjacent to the gap to support the crowns that provide the anchor for the dental bridge.
Missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic problem. If left untreated, missing teeth can cause misalignment, limit function, and adversely impact your self-confidence in social and professional settings.
To learn more about our restorative dental treatments and find out whether you are a candidate, call Available Dental Care (02) 4062 8763 to book a free consultation near you.